April 16, 2024

This year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner will open up with some major star power, as The Hollywood Reporter hears that action star (and former California Gov.) Arnold Schwarzenegger will kick off the program with a pretaped “cold open.”

Exactly what Schwarzenegger will say or do remains a mystery for now, though he has made news in recent months by delivering earnest monologues, with a recent one addressed to antisemites warning them that they “will end up broken” if they continue down the path of hate. Last year’s event also featured a cold open sketch, starring Late Late Show host James Corden.

Related Stories

Scwarzenegger is also set to star in the Netflix series FUBAR, which will debut next month.

His participation underscores how the WHCD is, post-pandemic and post-Donald Trump, returning to prominence in a way that it hasn’t seen in years.

President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden will return, with Biden set to deliver a routine, as is tradition (putting aside the pandemic or Trump’s presidency, when he skipped the event). Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. will be the headline entertainer, following Biden with a roast of his own.

Wood’s former Daily Show colleague Trevor Noah hosted the 2022 event, its return to a live dinner after being canceled in 2020 and 2021. While it isn’t known quite yet what famous faces will attend in person this year, the event sold out early, suggesting it is a hot ticket, and the media companies buying tables have been said to be reaching out to agents and managers to see who would be interested in joining them.

Among those confirmed to attend so far are John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, John Leguizamo and Lisa Vanderpump. Media executives also regularly make the trek to the Washington Hilton for the affair, and with Wood hosting, Paramount is expected to have a particularly large presence.

This year will also see the WHCD party circuit return in a big way, with longtime stalwarts like veteran producer Tammy Haddad’s garden brunch being joined by parties hosted by companies with serious Hollywood connections.

UTA and CAA each have kickoff parties on Friday, as does the MPA/SAG-AFTRA and Crooked Media. Comcast/NBCUniversal will host its annual afterparty on Saturday night at the Organization of American States, with Paramount and CBS News holding their own event at the French ambassador’s residence.

Time and Byron Allen also have events planned that day.

On Sunday, CNN is bringing back its “political hangover” brunch, hosted by Chris Licht.